Roberto Luongo ‘preparing to be at training camp’, says new agent; meanwhile, old agent seems upset

Things were going pretty well for Mike Gillis after the Canucks’ Summer Summit. To hear him tell it, he and Roberto Luongo had a fine and good time together in Florida, with light conversation and plenty of laughs. Why, at the end of the evening, Luongo said, “You know what Mikey G? You’re all right. Pound it.” And then they fist-bumped, and they even exploded it!

There was optimism. And then the next day, Roberto Luongo went and changed his representation, dismissing Gilles Lupien as his agent and signing with CAA, led by Pat Brisson and J.P. Barry.

It was a head-scratcher. Considering Luongo will be 67, by my estimation, when his current contract runs out, many wondered what need he had with two dudes whose primary job, as most understand it, is to negotiate contracts. That’s a little like hiring a wedding planner 12 years into a marriage. Maybe Luongo just wants to renew his vows?

Many assumed the worst. Luongo still wants out, and when his current agent couldn’t get it done, he decided it was time to give someone else a shot, went one reading of the situation, although one wonders what, exactly, Barry and Brisson were going to do that Lupien couldn’t. Is Barry Superman, and he can fly around the earth so fast he reverses time? Or maybe Brisson will help Luongo disappear into a new life as grizzled longshore worker Rory B. Bellows?

One imagines a scenario where Barry and Brisson study the contract in search of an out, then Barry looks up, the answer finally coming to him, and shouts, “Take to the sea!

But nothing quite so drastic is likely to happen. On Thursday, Brisson spoke for Luongo for the first time and, if anything, Vancouver fans should feel more settled, not less.

Brisson didn’t promise that Luongo won’t pull an Austin Krause on opening night, scoring on his own goal before flipping off the coaching staff and bailing through the Zamboni door. But he did say Luongo was planning to be here in September, which seems pretty notable.

“Roberto has a contract and is preparing to be at training camp,” said Brisson, adding that he and Barry were still planning to speak to Gillis and Laurence Gilman next week. More from Brisson, via TSN:

Luongo parted ways with long-time agent Gilles Lupien earlier this week and switched to CAA, prompting some to immediately speculate that he could still be looking to part ways with the Canucks. But Brisson says the move was just about getting new people to represent him.

“He has been through a lot the past 18 to 24 months and needed a different voice and sounding board,” he explained to TSN.

That makes a lot of sense. Obviously, I’m not in Roberto Luongo’s head, but I can tell you that if I had mentally checked out of Vancouver and was forced to check back in, it would be a lot easier to do if I made some changes so it at least felt like a fresh start. A new agent is one such big change. Trading Alain Vigneault working on a lozenge for John Tortorella shouting until he needs one will likely help with that transition as well.

Plus he gets a new backup, and it sounds like Luongo wants to get out in front of the situation this time.

 

Although Lack will not be bullied. He’s no shrinking violet, especially online.

 

If this is the tandem, it goes without saying that the Canucks have the best goalie combination in the NHL, Twitter-wise.

Finally, if Thursday is any indication, Luongo’s choice to make an agency change was a wise one. After all, his first day on the job, Brisson managed to calm everything down, establishing that Luongo plans be here in the fall. Was that so hard?

Meanwhile, Former agent Lupien spoke to the media as well, and his quotes were a whole lot more incendiary. From the Globe & Mail:

“I played on a team [Montreal] with nine Hockey Hall of Famers,” he says. “I’ve never seen a star treated like that. I think personally he’s been treated like a piece of paper, a fourth-line player.”

Lupien believes that in being so public for so long about the possibilities of a trade, the team undermined its own player. The media turned on Luongo, the fans turned on him, and there was no escape. He was like “a cornered rat,” Lupien says.

It goes on.

But hopefully, with this change and with Brisson’s good news, the Roberto Luongo soap opera is finally wrapping up.

27 comments

  1. ikillchicken
    July 26, 2013

    Lupien is being really stupid and selfish. Think of the player you (used to) represent. Obviously Lu has expressed his intention to return to Vancouver. Whether he feels mistreated or not, if he’s stuck in Vancouver he will want to bury the hatchet. The last thing he wants is somebody, especially his former agent, fanning the flames. That’s just gonna translate to more media BS to deal with for Lu. But no. Lupien has just gotta shoot his mouth off. What a tool.

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    • Spectrefire
      July 26, 2013

      Probably why he got s***-canned.

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  2. akiddddd
    July 26, 2013

    this is gonna get interesting. yep, that lupien has certainly stirred the pot. unless lou totally disagrees with his agent he wasn’t too pleased at all with the way the was treated.. kept a good poker face though.

    lots going on. nice timing with the olympic selection and yzerman basically saying if you wanna make the team you gotta starta lot of nhl games to get consideration. ‘thanks steve,’ says mike.

    and brisson’s staement was pure legalese. it was saying something without saying anything. silence is causing tension, boom, no more silence. “preparing to be be at training camp.” so am I.

    there should be lots more fun stuff before this is settled. maybe lou can’t resist team canada. and he’s got new agents to perform the pr miracle of getting back in the canucks’ crease without losing face. maybe for a year, maybe for long term. likely dependent on ‘life with torts’. maybe brisson is going to pressure gillis to accept less in a trade (lupien insinuated that gillis’ had options but didn’t like the return.)

    who know? more episodes of ‘ Days of our Lou’ to come though that’s for sure!

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  3. Nee
    July 26, 2013

    This is never going to end, is it? And by this, I mean the saga of Luongo…there’s always something that the media latches onto. There’s always drama.

    I feel bad for him. Can’t he ever just be another player on our team, instead of the focus of endless rumours and speculation? Although, the last year has been the kind of bizarre stuff that the media can’t really avoid speculating and writing about.

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  4. Fitz-P
    July 26, 2013

    Lu stated he wanted to be the #1, and if Vancouver was going with Schnieds that he’d waive his NTC to be the starter somewhere else. Now that he’s clear cut #1, and the “coin flipper” is gone I think he’ll settle right back in. Torts has always been a Luongo fan and that can’t hurt.

    There’s a lot of reasons why Lu could have changed representation. Just floating some ideas here but Lupien apparently only had two hockey player clients, maybe Lu wanted someone with more hockey related endorsement connections, maybe he didn’t like the deal Lupien got him with Poker Stars, maybe he’s pissed the Lupien told him he could get him to Florida despite there being zero chance the Panthers could afford to take on his contract, from Lupien’s comments maybe Lupien was insisting that they try to force a buy out and ol Strombone was now happy to stay being that he’s clear the cut #1 with a fresh coach, or maybe he really does want out of Vancouver. Bottom line is no one knows except Lu.

    Bottom line is no one knows

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  5. Fitz-p
    July 26, 2013

    From his comments perhaps Luongon replaced Lupine because Lupien was insisting that they force the Canucks in to a trade or a buy out and Luongo decided he’d rather give the Canucks another shot now that he’s the clear #1 and Coach Coin Flip is gone.

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    • Colby
      July 26, 2013

      AV made goaltending decisions based on how his dinner was digesting.

      “Hmm that Italian sure is sitting well… THE GUT SAYS LUONGO!”

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    • Aaron
      July 26, 2013

      Well I for 1 hope the days of the coin flip are gone. As well as the leaving the goalie in to drown situations or putting in a Goalie that is not 100%. I will never ever ever figure out what AV was thinking when it came to Goalie managment. I hope Tort is better at it.

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    • Al
      July 27, 2013

      I want to agree, but why would an agent who got his client a HUGE contract that pays out for the next 8 years want to encourage that client to force the team into a buyout?
      Doesn’t make sense financially for the agent.

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      • Colby
        July 27, 2013

        Poissibly the Agent’s portions is also strecteched into a set-for life type of deal as well?

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  6. Colby
    July 26, 2013

    I really dont care about all this, just glad the Canucks have a solid veteran netminder for the forseeable future.

    If it is not really an act and Luongo has actually matured a bit (IE Speaking through agents, taking all that crap last year, showing up for training camp), I would bet money we are going to see one of his best seasons. Hell he might even be decent out of the gate.

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  7. J21
    July 26, 2013

    Obviously, I’m not in Roberto Luongo’s head, but I can tell you that if I had mentally checked out of Vancouver and was forced to check back in, it would be a lot easier to do if I made some changes so it at least felt like a fresh start. A new agent is one such big change. Trading Alain Vigneault working on a lozenge for John Tortorella shouting until he needs one will likely help with that transition as well.

    So THAT’s why the Canucks are so anxious to play at BC Place this season.

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  8. Mt
    July 26, 2013

    Beyond the obvious, I think this whole saga really hurts the canucks. Gillis actually did make progress in making the team a destination for free agents. I think that has all died. Players get much of their information from the same media we do and the dominant story is how the team mis-managed the situation and mis-treated / disrespected a star player. Oops.

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    • YAP
      July 28, 2013

      Exactly my thoughts. In one foul swoop, the work he did to make this team successful and attractive to free agents disappeared . Hiring one of the most hated coaches in the entire league didn’t help either. I wasn’t surprised that the Canucks weren’t able to lure in any quality free agents this summer. They didn’t have a lot of capspace, but there were quality free agent who signed good deals with other teams when it was rumored Gillis was after them. Why would they come to this gong show in Vancouver?

      Interesting article in the Province today about decision making in Canucks org this summer. Bascally saying Aqulini has taken the reigns and made the decisions. Something I’ve longed believed since they hired Torts. I see this team falling down a path which is going no where but down. It’s quite sad actually. They are 1 or two peices away from winning the Cup IMO, but they take a drastically different route and make things worse. Thanks Aquilini.

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  9. Hmdke
    July 26, 2013

    Are you guys drunk? Read the whole interview there with the former agent, he ooints out that the change was made because Lu still wants out.

    The end of this season will just bring more drama.

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    • DG
      July 28, 2013

      It implies that, certainly….with no evidence whatsoever, other than the son storylf a jilted agent. Not once does the article even ask what role Lupin played in the mess, and could Luo’s canning the guy possibly be dissatisfaction over that? It’s nothing more than another eastern media smear article, designed to stir the pot and keep the controversy going, even while Luo seems to be working towards reconciliation with good humor. F the Globe.

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  10. Cdano
    July 26, 2013

    It is a good thing that Luongo wants to play in the olympics this year. If this were not an olympic year I would lay you dimes to dollars that he would not show up in September and force a buyout in June next year. This scenario may still play itself out anyhow next year as Gillis has that last buyout firmly stowed in his back pocket for just such an eventuality if he cannot rig some kind of trade or convince somebody to take Lou on waivers. How this year goes team wise (ie. playoff success and a solid run at the cup) will go a long way to decide what the future looks like with the Canucks and Luongo. I wouldn’t blame him for forcing a buyout even after the Olympics. Could he refuse to return to Vancouver after the Olympics just to jump start the process? A spectacular Olympic run for Louie could reignite some interest in him via trade. Idle speculation, but I wonder.

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    • Corey
      August 6, 2013

      If he decided not to report, he would be suspended without pay. Not a bright way to ‘force a buyout” as you suggest. I’d like to know why you would think holding out would convince the Canucks to buy out his contract? Am I the only one who thinks that makes no sense at all?

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  11. shoes
    July 26, 2013

    Monsieur Lucien: SVP….ferme la bouche or in english “clam-it” You just got your pink slip and you made a bundle off Luongo. Go away and let him play as you owe him not the other way around.

    Luongo will be fine in net. Both him and me are glad AV is gone. Not a real Torts fan but willing to give him a chance and this team needed something. When they got fired up for a game they were unbeatable, but they were fired up so few time that it hurt and other than the run to the final the team has been on cruise most post season games.

    Still I say…”a bad day as a Canuck fan the last few years has been a far better day than the fans of certain flat land teams had”

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  12. Tactical1
    July 27, 2013

    No one turned on Luongo other than himself, he let the fans in Vancouver down by not playing to his potential, this is the only reason the fans think negatively of him. He seems to be a spoiled little boy that has to have his own way, well here’s some free advice for you Roberto, grow up, give your sister her panties back and put on your big boy pants. You signed the contract,now live with it, or give all the money back and quit crying.

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  13. BS
    July 27, 2013

    Some people turned on Luongo. He was beaten for his spot by a better goaltender but he was always professional and publicly was a good supportive teammate. His skills are in decline but he is still one of the top 10 goalies in the league. I said it here when the season ended that it was likely Schneider who would be traded.
    The biggest problem Luongo had here was a coach who knew little about the game, when to pull a goalie and when to start someone else. Luongo was another casualty of the mess that was AV.

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    • nuck 'em
      July 31, 2013

      “The mess that was AV” won more games over the last five years than any other coach – hope Tortorella does as good – and good luck with that

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  14. Mike
    July 27, 2013

    Maybe Lou fired the guy who negotiated the contract that sucks
    And who couldn’t get him out of a lousy situation.

    Seems the new representation swings a little
    more weight and can ensure Lou gets treated
    better than he did.

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  15. Pukeko
    July 27, 2013

    Dear Mr Lupien,

    Thanks for the belittlement.

    Best Regards- 4th line players of the NHL who play/fight/grind hard night in night out, with 1 year, 2 way contracts very little job security and short career spans.

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  16. King Wayne
    July 28, 2013

    Schneider was never better than Luongo. Thanks to the know it all local pundits, we may have been stirred to believe so. If Luongo comes back. this Canucks organisation has a chance. Without him…we have Kits Beach, the Grouse Grind or the Vancouver Mayor’s every second on the chair, to be proud off. No fun town. GCG!

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  17. Left in the dust
    July 28, 2013

    The old agent should only look in the mirror if he wants someone to blame. He handed Gillis a list of 1 TEAM during the most opportune time to trade him. He stayed true to that list until a new CBA was signed which essentially sealed the fate for his client. He was stuck in Vancouver with that contract unless the cheap owner decided to step up to the plate and write a buyout cheque. Lupien knew the risks when he held out for Florida only. It was a massive risk and it came back to bite him. Not sure how that’s Gillis’s fault.

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  18. mB13
    July 29, 2013

    I can’t believe Luongo changing agents is anything but bad news for the Canucks. If it was good news, he would have spoken by now.

    The only reason that Luongo might still be silent is because he sees how much attention he’s getting by not talking – and we all know how much he likes being in the centre of attention.

    Either way – I love the comments above about Luongo being a superior goalie to Schneider. Just look at the freaking numbers – it can’t be any more clear that Luongo is in a decline. And for those of you that think he’s a top 10 goalie – put together a list of goalies, might surprise you where Luongo ranks… that is unless you think how he played in 2008 or 2009 is relevant.

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